Category: Month-by-month broadband services

Month-by-month plans available on Australia’s NBN

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Linksys MR7350 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router press picture courtesy of Belkin

There are month-by-month NBN plans available in Australia that require you to bring your own home-network router

Contract-Free NBN: Unlimited NBN Plans With No Setup Fees (gizmodo.com.au)

My Comments

A handful of NBN-based ISPs are offering month-by-month plans to the Australian Internet market.

These kind of Internet plans are not dependent on you being on a contract for say 12 to 36 months but require you to bring your own home-network router rather than use a carrier-provided piece of equipment that you have to pay off. That is equivalent to terms like “no-wires” or “BYO modem” for Internet services where the provisioning is done by the provider at their office without the need for any of their staff to deliver or install any equipment or infrastructure at your premises.

Firstly, you have to have an NBN connection of some sort installed at your premises. You will have to use an NBN-supplied modem or optical-network terminal for installations other than FTTN or FTTB installations, with this equipment being NBN’s responsibility. Here, you would need to use a broadband router with Ethernet WAN connection for setups other than FTTN or FTTB while you would use an up-to-date modem router for FTTN or FTTB installations.

Some of these providers offer a timed-discount approach with a few months at the start of your subscription being cheaper. As well, all of the plans listed in that article have unlimited data allowances and they don’t have any setup fees associated with getting on board the service. But the cost typically comes around AUD$75 – AUD$80 for a 50Mbps “NBN 50” plan. It is worth clicking on the Gizmodo article’s link at the top of this article to have a look at what is available for you bandwidth needs.

One of the providers called MATE even offers an option to annex a SIM-only mobile service to their broadband package and save money on both those services. This is one that is delivered under a mobile virtual network arrangement with Telstra’s mobile network under the context for wholesale service.

Who would want these plans?

They are being pitched for those of us who want to be able to walk away from our NBN Internet deal at a moment’s notice, typically to join a competing NBN or non-NBN ISP. Here, it would be about the pending arrival of infrastructure-level competition in your building or neighbourhood, be it Optus pitching their 5G mobile broadband service as a fixed-wireless setup or something like Spirit Broadband being in your apartment building.

The article even talked of a person who would be likely to go over to mobile broadband or low-earth-orbit satellite broadband like Starlink due to them shifting out to the country or shifting around Australia.

Another usage scenario is to cater towards those of us who are likely to engage in month-by-month placement work contracts where one is likely to be in a different town, city or country at a moment’s notice. This can also apply to people who are likely to move even within NBN’s service-coverage area but may face contract issues due to changing location.

Conclusion

It may become a requirement for ISPs to offer a “bring your own equipment” deal that operates on a month-by-month basis without any minimum-length contract. This may be a way to court users who don’t necessarily want to run a long-term service contract or may want to be able to use competing infrastructure offers.

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Hyperoptic offers month-by-month Gigabit Internet service in the UK

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Hyperoptic to offer fibre-optic Internet service to UK's apartment buildings month-by-month

Hyperoptic to offer fibre-optic Internet service to UK’s apartment buildings month-by-month

Hyperoptic’s month-by-month Gigabit fibre-optic service

No contract Gigabit launched by Hyperoptic | ThinkBroadband

ISP Hyperoptic Add No Contract Option to 1Gbps FTTP Home Broadband | ISPreview UK

Advertising a month-by-month telecommunications service as “no contract” service

ASA UK Rules it Safe to Advertise Monthly Contracts as “No Contract” | ISPReview UK

From the horse’s mouth

Hyperoptic

Press Release

Advertising Standards Authority

Published Ruling concering Sky UK and their NOW TV service (month-by-month offering as a “no contract” service)

My Comments

Most Internet services, whether ADSL or next-generation broadband, are offered to customers on a contract where they have to maintain the service for 12 months or more. This is typically to benefit from cheaper or complementary equipment or tariff plans with better value. This may not suit every user, especially if you are on a short-term work placement or are living “month by month”.

Hyperoptic, who provide fibre-optic broadband to apartment blocks through the UK, have answered this need through the provision of a “month-by-month” plan for their next-generation broadband services. They understand that, as I have said before, a person may occupy an apartment for a few months rather than for the full 12 months or more.

The plans require you to stump up GBP£40 to get the service put on, which includes the provision of a Gigabit router. They offer a double-play Internet and telephone service for GBP£27 for a 20Mb service, GBP£41 for a 100Mb service and GBP£67 for a Gigabit service. These include the phone line rental and evening and weekend calls to UK landlines. There is also an “Anytime UK” plan and an “International” plan available but I am not sure of the prices for these plans. A pure-play broadband-only service will come for GBP£24 for 20Mb service, GBP£38 for a 100Mb service and GBP£64 for a Gigabit service.

The open question concerning these tariffs is whether you can take the Gigabit router with you when you move out of the apartment or leave it in place for the next tenant to use. As well, is there a cheaper “wires-only” or “self-install” connection-cost option for those of us who have suitable fibre-optic modem equipment and infrastructure in place? This could be feasible because of the fact that you don’t need to send people to the premises where existing infrastructure is in place and working.

I am surprised that Hyperoptic aren’t running a triple-play service of their own but it would be dependent on them tying up deals with an IPTV service that is operating in the UK like Sky or BT.

By the way, a question that the UK computing and IT press and blogosphere have raised about telecommunications, Internet, Pay TV or similar services is whether a service offered on a “month-by-month” basis with no long-term contract requirement should be described as a “no-contract” service? The advantage with these services is the fact that a customer can walk out of the service before the next monthly billing cycle by cancelling the service and settling up the account for the cost of the service. The IT press were splitting hairs by describing a single monthly billing cycle as a one-month contract because you wouldn’t be able to get money back for unused days of your service if you walked out before the end of the billing cycle.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority settled this once and for all by allowing a service provider to call a “month-by-month” service with no long-term requirement a “no-contract” service when they advertise it to the public. This is even though a contract that represents the monthly billing cycle of these services is technically a contract.

At least someone has stood up to the realities associated with apartment blocks and offered an Internet service deal that caters to people who come in an out of town on a short-term basis.

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